Mobile Suit Gundam Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: C
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Mobile Suit Gundam

Mobile Suit Gundam Vol. #01

By andrew     October 15, 2003
Release Date: August 07, 2001



The Review!
This is it, the series that defined mecha IMHO, Gundam. Gundam Wing was my first experience into Gundam, and I've dabbled a bit into the other series. But this is the original, and its always best to figure out how things work from the beginning.

Audio:

I guess I'll address this issue first, since it?s what everyone complains about. There is no Japanese audio track on this DVD. Bandai Entertainment had a choice, release it with just the English track, or don't release anything at all. I know after attending Yoshiyuki Tomino's panel at AXNY that the Japanese audio track is in very bad condition and basically has to be completely remastered. The Japanese don't even have this on DVD yet. Hmm, 25th Gundam anniversary in 2004........

The show was originally recordred in mono, but Bandai has recorded everything in stereo. Sound effects I believe have been re-recorded for this release, and it was definitely time well spent. I was also highly impressed with the dub. And the music! Such nostalgia. I loved watching the old robot shows of the seventies and this brings back memories. The opening and ending songs are old style also, with a male singer and a ballad type song. I got such a kick out of listening to it. The audio quality is excellent for such an old song. My only real problem is not being able to figure out what's being said during the eye catch. Sadly also, neither the opening nor closing songs are subbed.

Video:

The show is old, and it shows. The print used has scratches, dark spots, and smears on it, but only someone who really nitpicks will be bothered by it while watching the show. I spot-checked the DVD for line shimmering and MPEG artifacts from the compression, and I could only find some MPEG artifacts when the screen had flashing lights. There are moments when the brightness of the scene suddenly changes also. Colors appear to be muted at points too. The print is quite good for its age, and Pop Cinram did the compression work.

Packaging:

The cover image is a shot right after Amuro slices his first Zaku in half. Obviously an image used to market the series, but I think it works very well. The spine has a volume number, which is a plus in my department. On the back cover, we have Amuro and the Gundam aiming the Beam Cannon. These two images show the old style of animation from the series. Episode numbers and titles are also included on the back.

Menus:

The main menu page and all the other pages are static menus. Submenus include scene selection for each episode, trailers, the credit page, and the MS Encyclopedia extra. The cover image is used in the main image menu to add a little color. Some really cheesy music is also used, that is kind of like a 90?s techno mixed somehow mixed to sound retro. It?s a very unusual selection.

Extras:

The Mobile Suit Encyclopedia is the only extra on the first DVD. It gives the specifications, equipment, and a small summary about the Gundam, Guncannon, and Guntank. Since the Guncannon isn't even featured on this DVD, I think it?s a poor choice to include. The Guntank probably shouldn't be included either. The Core Fighter and the White Base would have been much better choices. Considering all the material that is available on Gundam, I think a little bit of history should have been included on the first DVD to help introduce people to original Gundam.

Content:

We begin the series nine months into the war between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon. The war has been devastating, as the Zeon have dropped a colony on Australia causing mass destruction on Earth. We begin our story as the Zeon send a scout team of three Zakus into the colony of Side 7, where the Earth Federation is finalizing Project V. Project V consists of the development of advanced mobile suits and a new battleship, the White Base. When the attack begins by the scout team, Amuro Ray wanders out of the shelter to look for his father, who is in charge of developing the new Gundams. Events occur so that Amuro gets the manual for the Gundam, and eventually gets inside. He is a natural at controlling the Gundam and easily takes out two of the Zaku.

The Zaku continue their attack on Side 7 in the second episode as they try to recover more information on the Federation's new Gundam. This time, Char Anabal, the Red Comet and Zeon's star soldier, leads a team inside to analyze the new Gundam. During his run inside, he comes upon Sayla Mass, who he believes may actually be his sister Artesia. The situation on Side 7 is getting desperate as many veteran soldiers are killed or wounded. After the Captain gets injured, it is up to Bright Noa to now lead the remaining forces and the civilians he drags into the battle. Mirai Yashima becomes the new pilot of the White Base. Frau Bow, Amuro's friend helps out in any way she can and the other civilians take up guns to prevent Char from escaping. Char escapes into his mobile suit, and we have our first battle between the two pilots. Due to the Gundam's awesome firepower though, Char is forced to run from Amuro.

As the White Base escapes from Side 7 on the way to Luna II, the crew decides to make an attack on Char's ship, the Musai. The crew gets another of the prototype Gundams ready, the Guntank. Kai Shiden and Hayoto Koyashi take up the battle. They manage to take out a Zaku supply ship, before retreating. Eventually, the White Base reaches Luna II, where the Earth Federation forces take them all into custody for getting a hold of top-secret technology. Who's the enemy here? Char attacks Luna II, and the White base makes their escape during the battle.

The first DVD ends with an episode as the White Base descends into Earth's atmosphere. Amuro defends the White Base as Char's forces press their attack on the White Base. It looks like it might be the end of Amuro, as he can't dock back into the White Base after he begins reentry in the Gundam. Thanks to his trusty Gundam manual though, Amuro discovers the Gundam Condom (my term) that will ensure his safe entry. Unfortunately, a Zeon attack force is waiting for them on Earth.

I started watching Cartoon Network's run of Mobile Suit Gundam when it first aired, but I didn't get past episode three at the time. Before that, I had also seen the first two Gundam movies. This time though, I didn't want to stop the DVD until all the episode were done. We get to see the beginnings of the rivalry between Amuro and Char. Amuro is absolutely green, and hasn't seen very much war. He has no idea yet of its very tragic consequences, and he is ready to pilot the Gundam and attack at this point. Char is a seasoned soldier, and he makes his attacks carefully. Bright is completely unsure about his command, but he has Mirai and Sayla to keep him on the right track. Sayla will be interesting to watch, as we try to discover what's really going on between her and Char.

Yes, you have to watch it dubbed, and the series is ten DVDs. This makes it a lot simpler to just buy the movie versions of Gundam, but after seeing that episode three was completely skipped; I think the movies are a rip off. Amuro has a lot of development in episode three, and it contains the recruitment of Hayoto and Kai as Gundam pilots. If you really want to full story of Gundam, this is the best way to do it right now.




Review Equipment
Toshiba 3109 player, Toshiba 36? Cinema Series via component, Pioneer VSX-810S receiver, Cerwin Vega front speaker, Pinnacle center and rears

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